Curry is an international dish that has recognized the world over. It is a dish with gravy (or is a stew-like dish) and had many spices and seasonings and is flavored with hot and sour tastes.
Curry may or may not be made with curry powder. Curry powder available in the supermarket is not a single spice, but a blend of spices. Curries are made with many different spice blends. Some curry powder ingredients are: black pepper, chili pepper, cloves, coriander, fenugreek, cinnamon, cardamom, cumin, ginger turmeric and nutmeg. One may mix spices to create their own curry powder, or buy one that is ready-made.
The classic Indian curry often combines the following main spices: coriander, turmeric, fenugreek, cloves, ginger, red and black pepper as well as other spices. One popular variety of spice blend used in Indian curries is called "Garam Masala".
A ‘dry’ curry simply means that there is less liquid involved in the cooking process than normally associated with a curry.
Although Curry is not an Indian word - it has come to represent the varied dishes that are stew like or soupy. These dishes are cooked in steps with the following seasonings which are called masalas:
1. A base of spices sautéed in ghee or oil
2. Herbs and seasonings like curry leaves or fenugreek may also be added
3. A secondary level of seasonings are added and include all or some of the following – a mixture of onion, garlic, ginger, and tomatos
4. A third level may include coconut milk, almonds, cashews or cream
5. All curries have a sour taste which may be achieves with lime juice, tamarind, mango powder, kokum or yogurt
What is Curry?
Curry is an English word most probably derived from the South Indian word "Kaikaari". Kaikaari, or its shortened version Kaari, means vegetables cooked with Kari leaes, spices with a dash of coconut. It may have become the symbolic British word for Indian dishes that could be eaten with rice. Since the British occupation of India started in Bengal, some Bengali dishes are called "Torkari" or vegetables stews - the word curry may have been derived here. Another theory is the root word for curry is "Karai" or Kadhai" denoting the wok used in Indian kitchens.In India, curry now means gravy.
In America, many believe curry is an Indian spice. Curry powder is sold in many supermarkets. Many dishes in America call for curry powder, which is actually a blend of spices (mainly garam masala) that is mixed with coriander powder and turmeric.
There is a plant, that has leaves called curry leaves or in Hindi meetha neem or Kadhi leaves. They look like miniature lemon leaves and grow wild in most forest regions of India, used as a seasoning.